If you’re part of my Twitter feed, you might have seen the stunned and very happy announcement I made over the weekend. You see, after ten years of struggling with my weight–never quit smoking and become a catering company chef in the same week–I have finally hit my goal weight.
I’m a size six now, in case you were wondering. That’s down from an uncomfortable 12 trying to slide into a 14.
It’s hard to lose weight, especially as a single mother. You can’t pass off morning off to school duties to your partner while you run five miles or hit the gym. And finding the time to take care of yourself? Forgeddaboutit.
One of my oldest friends wrote and asked me how I did it. Well, for Paul and all you other amazing folks in my life, here’s what I did.
I changed my mind about food.
At my heaviest, I was eating out at least four times a week. I was eating whatever I wanted. I was saying yes whenever someone offered me something bad for me. I shed many things that were bad for me in August, and replaced bad habits with a new relationship with food that has little to do with the SuperSizeMe culture we suffer through here in the States.
I’ve combined a whole bunch of techniques, and it seems to be working. I did do (South Beach) induction for almost two months, and lost 20 pounds. NO carbs. The last ten I took off in a month simply by eating intelligently. I don’t eat out more than once a week, which means I can control the amount of salt, cholesterol, and calories I’m taking in. When I do eat out, I order an appetizer, because I know the dinner portions are huge–and I know I will feel obligated to eat it all. I eat slowly. I drink a glass of water before I eat. I enjoy a glass of red wine with my meal, and sip it.
I eat breakfast, usually either eggs or kefir with fruit. Sometimes oatmeal when I can stand it and am not worried about the carbs. I must confess to being so busy at work sometimes I’m eating breakfast at 4:30 in the afternoon, but I do try to avoid that trap.
My dinner plates at home are 10″, not 12″. Less food fills the plate, and convinces my brain I’m eating a lot. Even so, lunch is my main meal. Unless I am cooking for company, I will have some soup or a small snack of cheese, nuts, a few slices of chicken, etc for dinner. I serve myself half as much as I think I want, and have seconds if I really want them.
Oh, and about soup? It’s a wonderful French trick I learned while in Corsica: mange ta soupe. You’ll get tons of good vegetables without having to otherwise sautee, braise, or dress up veggies on a plate. Winter squashes, carrots and ginger, leek and potato are all winter staples at my house.
I’ll snack on nuts during the day. If I want a piece of chocolate or something sugary, I’ll eat just a few bites of it, and throw the rest away or pawn it off on someone at work. And if I really listen to my body, it’s pretty clear it doesn’t like sugar. The darkest chocolate I can find really hits all the craving spots, one little square at a time, in 50 calorie increments with very little sugar. Rock star.
I don’t exercise, but will walk at least two miles almost every day. I want to get back into belly dancing and start yoga. A friend who is the alternative therapy/massage therapist for a local sports team is recommending resistance training — big old rubber bands. Portable, they don’t take up much room and you can do them anywhere. A plus in my small apartment.
I don’t do diet or lite foods. No 2% milk or lowfat yogurt in my house. What you take out in fat you replace with carbs. My good cholesterol is very good, my bad cholesterol is very good too. LOL I have a doctor who monitors my blood chemistry very carefully, and I’ve been able to tailor my habits to optimize the best foods for me.
The secret really is to eat slowly, make conscious decisions about what you put into your body, and care about yourself enough to make good eating habits… a habit.